Vitamin D supplementation could help reduce COPD exacerbations

New treatments are urgently needed to prevent COPD attacks
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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

January 14 2019. A study reported in Thorax on January 10, 2019 suggests a benefit for vitamin D supplementation among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who are deficient in the vitamin. Nearly all deaths from COPD (which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis) are caused by disease exacerbations, which frequently occur in association with upper respiratory infections.

David A. Joliffe of Queen Mary University of London and colleagues analyzed data from 469 COPD patients who were participants in one of four clinical trials that evaluated the effects of vitamin D supplementation. Doses administered in the trials ranged from 1,200 IU per day to 100,000 IU per month.

Among subjects whose serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were deficient at less than 10 nanograms per milliliter, the adjusted incidence rate of moderate to severe COPD exacerbations was reduced by 45% in association with vitamin D supplementation in comparison with the rate determined prior to supplementation. No significant adverse events were observed in association with vitamin D.

“New treatments are urgently needed to prevent COPD attacks,” noted lead researcher Adrian Martineau of Queen Mary University of London. “Our study shows that giving supplements to vitamin D-deficient COPD patients nearly halves their rate of potentially fatal attacks.”

“Vitamin D supplementation is safe, and it costs just a few pence to supplement a person for a year – so this is a potentially highly cost-effective treatment that could be targeted at those who have low vitamin D levels following routine testing” he remarked.

“Around a fifth of COPD patients in the UK – about 240,000 people – have low levels of vitamin D,” he added. “Reducing risk of attacks in such a large group would have major benefits for patients and for the National Health Service, since many attacks require costly hospital admission.”

—D Dye

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